Search This Blog

26 October, 2008

Gardens For Gourmets: Food Gardening, Shrubs, Vines, Trees and Perennials

Perennials/Bulbs

Artichokes
Asparagus
Rhubarb
Saffron
Strawberries

Shrubs:

Blueberries (Southern Highbush, low chill) – to about 4 feet, prefer acidic soils and lot’s of water. Other than that, easy to grow
Mulberries
Ribes sp.

Vines/ Brambles

Grapes
Berries/Rasp and black, boysenberry, currants, Gooseberry
Passion fruit
Kiwis

Trees

Apples, crabapples
Apricots
Avocado
Bay
Citrus
Figs
Jujube
Nectarines
Nuts
Almonds
Pecan
Walnut
Olive
Pawpaw
Peaches
Pears
Persimmons
Plums
Plumcots
Pluots
Pomegranates
Quince

The following herbs are perennial as well:

Anise hyssop
Some basils
Borage
Burnet, salad
Chives
Ginger
Hyssop
Lavender
Lemon Verbena
Lovage
Sweet marjoram
Mint
Oregano, Greek (Origanum heracleoticum)
Parsley
Rosemary
Sage
Tarragon, French
Thyme

david

Gardens for Gourmets: Resources for Perennial Food Gardening

The Home Orchard, published by University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources is a very accessible source of information and it absolutely must reading for anyone who wishes to be involved in growing food on trees. You can find their catalog with this book and many others at their site, here.

Sylvia Thompson’s The Kitchen Garden discusses some of these plants, but it’s just an inclusion in a general gardening text.

The Grape Grower: A Guide to Organic Viticulture by Lon Rombough is a beautifully illustrated and succinct guide to all things relating to grapes – not only wine, but also for eating.

Online sources include, but are not limited to (!):

From UC Davis:
Fruits and Nuts Research Center

And the appropriately named The California Backyard Orchard, also from UC Davis.

The Home Orchard Society (not our climate, but …)

California Rare Fruit Growers – I am a member and my Propagation class and my Home Orchard class will attend their meetings (next West LA meeting is on persimmons on November 8th), their breadth of knowledge and commitment to growing tree crops is astounding! I heartily recommend them.

Some general information from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Cooperative Extension.

A commercial site with a lot of really good reference material:

Dave Wilson Nursery

And my favorite place to buy fruit trees, a very helpful and knowledgeable staff:

Trees Of Antiquity


david

16 October, 2008

California Plants in Container Gardens

Resources:

Theodore Payne Foundation


www.theodorepayne.org

Tree of Life Nursery

www.californianativeplants.com
go to Information: Sage Advice

Home-Made, Non-Toxic Pesticides

Some common materials that can do double duty as non-toxic pesticides:
- uncoated aspirin to fight mildew, black spot and more. Dissolved in water.
- baking soda (really useful!) prevents fungus spores from invading plants.
- boric acid or borax wipes out ants, roaches and more.
- canola oil works to smother insects and as a surfactant but any vegetable oil that isn’t too heavy will work – I like Trader Joe’s grape seed oil
- chili powder is used as a pesticide and a repellant
- cinnamon powder is useful as a an anti-fungal and anti-ant
- corn gluten meal inhibits seed germination (or at least it has in studies)
- Epsom salts provide a shot of magnesium and help promote growth of flowers and foliage
- essential oils, when mixed with water, help defer feeding and work to eliminate pests
- fish emulsion & kelp wonderful organic fertilizers that promote healthy plants
- flour, white but not self-rising, can be sprinkled on plants plagued by grasshoppers
- honey is a sure-fire lure for ants
- isopropyl rubbing alcohol, the 70% stuff, desiccates and destroys insects – if a bit tedious to apply
- molasses, good ol’ blackstrap or horticultural grade, jumpstarts microbial action and feeds beneficial insects – can be used to attract harmful insects into traps
- petroleum jelly can be used as a sticky barrier (around a tree trunk for example) to prevent access for undesirable insects
- liquid soap – NOT detergent! (almost all “dish soaps” today are really dish “detergents” and they are more harmful to plants and not as effective as insecticides – you will have to seek out Dr. Bronner’s or any other pure castile soap) can be used as a surfactant or as the active ingredient against many pests, insects and fungi alike; liquid soap is the basis of many home-made pesticides because it works to allow other ingredients to blend together (emulsify). You can have a bucket of soapy water in the garden in which to dump insects and help them die in the cleanest of ways.
- Tabasco sauce can be used as a pesticide and repellent (I like to tell about the time Grandpa used a syringe to inject Tabasco sauce into the watermelon closest to the road, it works to repel even human pests!)
- vegetable or mineral oil destroys insects and can also double as a barrier
- vinegar, either apple or white, buy whatever is less expensive, fights fungus gnats, can be used to kill some weeds and destroys pests – I use a solution 50% vinegar with water to kill ants when they invade my home or the greenhouse, as they often do.
- white glue is very useful to seal pruning cuts – especially roses against the rose borer which is a significant pest around here

GENERAL NOTES ON HOME-MADE PESTICIDE APPLICATION (also valuable for commercial sprays)

 Test your spray first on a small portion of the plant before applying it to the entire plant. I mean, it should go without saying that you’d rather knock the pests off and not kill the plant.
 Always, always, always use soap not detergent – you may not know the difference but your plants will.
 Spray early in the morning, on a foggy day or, if you’re not an early riser, later in the day. (Early morning IS the best, but if you, like me, just can’t seem to get around early enough, late evening might be your only opportunity.) Do not spray when the temperature is at, or soon will be at, 85 or higher.
 Wear rubber gloves when spraying – especially those sprays containing peppers, alcohol, citrus concentrates, mint oils or any other material that could irritate skin.
 Do not spray when the wind will not allow you to control the destination of your spray.
 Thoroughly examine the plant to be sprayed right before spraying it, specifically looking for beneficial insects or their eggs.
 Most mixtures will require consistent agitation to keep the ingredients evenly mixed, so shake as you go. So to speak.
 Make sure all of your solutions get on to the leaf undersides as well as the tops.

TOBASCO TOODLE-LOO
1 t Tabasco sauce
 t liquid soap
Shake mixture well and decant into sprayer.
Tabasco, straight, can be used to discourage rabbits and other omnivores from chowing down on tender shoots. Test to make sure the tender shoots won’t themselves be “prevented.”

BASIL SUN TEA
1 hand full fresh basil leaves and stems
1 large glass jar – at least ½ gallon – with water
Put the basil in the jar of water and set in the sun for a few days; strain out solids and store (out of the sun) in a capped container until you need it. When using it, decant into a sprayer and add  teaspoon liquid soap and shake well before using. A poor use for basil in my book.

RED PEPPER WRECKER
2 T red pepper
6 drops of liquid soap
1 gallon water
Allow the mixture to brew overnight. Stir thoroughly before spraying. Repeat about weekly to protect the Crucifers – cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower - from destructive critters.

BUTTERMILK SHAKE
¼ cup buttermilk
2 cups wheat flour
2 ½ gallons water
Shake the ingredients all together thoroughly and spray on plants infested with spider mites.
GARLIC SOUP
2 garlic cloves
1 quart water
 t liquid soap
For plants with fungal or bacterial disease and rash outbreaks of vampires in your garden, puree the garlic in a blender on high for a minute. Slowly add the water and continue blending for about six more minutes. Strain, into a storage container adding the soap (adding the soap while blending is NOT recommended) and cover tightly.

To use, mix one part garlic soup concoction with ten parts water in a sprayer. I have read that scientists have discovered that garlic leaves can be used in place of the garlic bulbs and do the same duty; so you can use two handfuls of leaves and keep your bulbs for eating.

HEALTHY HOLLYHOCK SPRAY
1 ½ t baking soda
1 T canola or other light oil
½ t liquid soap
½ cup white vinegar
1 gallon water
While this says “hollyhock” it is useful to spray on any rust-prone plant – and in our area that includes roses. Blend the ingredients and decant into a sprayer. Shake thoroughly before and during applications, applying weekly to the whole leaf on susceptible plants. If you have diseased foliage, remove it and send it away – do not compost unless your are certain your compost is hot enough to kill the spores.

TAKE TWO ASPIRINS AND DON’T CALL ME
2 uncoated aspirins dissolved in one quart of water can be used as a foliar spray to deal with fungus infections, which include black spot, mildew and rust – all popular here.

CORNELL’S FORMULA
1 T canola, mineral or other light oil
1 t baking soda
1 gallon water
Cornell published this as a remedy for fungal blights on tomatoes and potatoes. Shake thoroughly before using.

ROSE TONIC
2 t baking soda
2 quarts water
½ t liquid soap
Keep handy in sprayer and shake before using – this is especially useful with powdery mildew or black spot – two fungal infections almost all roses get in Southern California.

12 October, 2008

A Related Link for Some Interesting Reading

The title on this article links you to an article by Michael Pollan in the New York Times. Pollan is one of my favorite writers on food and the reasons to grow your own food and be careful of selecting other sources for food. Some thoughtful reading.

david

Suggestions For The Cool Season Border

FRONT OF THE BORDER:
Beets – Burpee’s Golden have a wonderful leaf! Other beets have a wonderful reddish leaf in varying sizes and varying strengths of red.
Bok choy – harvest early for tenderness, bolts easily. Attracts snails like no other - you have been warned.
Cabbage – white/green, gray and purple/red – some need to be mid-border – if it’s listed at over one hundred days to maturity, you have a honker on your hands and putting it further back in the crowd will do you proud
Carrots – nice ferny foliage
Celery/Celeriac – you know what celery looks like…
Cilantro – a parsley like leaf – but much quicker, bolts readily in heat, self-sows
Garlic – a wonderful companion plant – slow growing! BUT, it has to be allowed to dry out if you wish to harvest bulbs that will store for a few months.
Lettuce – a quick crop can go in almost any empty spot of any size, comes in a fascinating multitude of colors and shapes – a marvelous addition to any border and meal; try to keep lettuce seedlings on hand just to be able to pop one in here and there
Marjoram – a lovely oregano look-alike
Onions – unobtrusive and provides a nice upright shape
Oregano – a perennial; if you can find the Greek oregano, it’s better – a lot better
Parsley – a short lived perennial – great intense green
Parsnips – slower than parsley but similar foliage and an annual – edible part is a long earthy root
Poppies – bread seed poppies are not only beautiful mauve flowers, but have wonderful seed pods afterwards, and then, almost as an afterthought, there’s the eating too!
Radishes – quick and fun – usually 28 days to maturity – don’t sow a lot of them, but one here and there is a delight
Sage – the culinary sage is a lovely low spreading perennial
Shallots – like onions, but take longer an d mostly more worth it
Spinach – quick although can be finicky – does NOT like heat at all
Strawberries – a lovely little plant with runners – a few plants can be propagated into a larger number of plants, a few plants will net berries for two bowls of oatmeal several times in a season. If planted correctly, strawberries are not hard.
Thyme - Many different varieties, some with silvery foliage, some golden, all with the thyme taste - choose one that matches your other plants.
Turnips – looking a little like radishes only a little slower and somewhat larger - like radishes, they are also a quick crop
Venidium – a sunflower like little darling – look for Zulu Prince

MID-BORDER:

Broccoli – there are purple heading varieties
Calendulas – lovely and edible too, also called ‘pot marigold’ although I don’t know why
Cauliflower – they come in white, orange and purple – there are easier things to grow
Catnip – a wild thing with somewhat blue flowers – ‘spreads joyfully’ as they say
Chard – comes in pink, white, red, yellow and orange – a brilliant display!
Dill – ferny, feathery
Florence Fennel – gorgeous foliage – especially the ‘bronze’ fennel!
Larkspur – a lovely upright, purples and pinks with a lacey enticing foliage; this flower is an annual relative of delphinium, a wonderfully regal plant that is rarely at home in Southern California, but larkspur gets happy here and can self-sow, which is one of my favorites because it’s free plants year after year.
Leeks – stunning allium flower that can get to 8” diameter or more
Mustard (red) – really a red leaf, really, really! Rosy – but very spicy if that’s your bag
Potatoes – a little floppy, needs something to lean on, adds interest, edible roots after flowering – the size up only as the plant dies so it can look really ratty for a few weeks before harvest.
Rosemary – several different forms available – some are upright, some are prostrate and some can’t make up their minds as to one or the other and so possess qualities of both – still, a fabulous perennial especially in our climate!
Wheat – a fabulous upright annual grass – several different varieties are extremely ornamental – if you want to use it, threshing is a hassle unless you have a large supply of teenage angst energy to stomp and beat the berries free. Some wheat would be more back of the border so check the projected height.

BACK OF THE BORDER:

Artichokes – a perennial that is huge, but boy is it impressive! Um, and tasty.
Brussels Sprouts – a slow, large Cruciferae (cabbage family)
Fava Beans – great black and white flowers and impressive when pods ripen.
Hollyhock – upright old-fashioned flower – some are used for dying. Can get rust…
Kale – very colorful and interesting shapes – the edible kale gets much larger than the little cute ornamental kale you find in the nursery
Edible peas – given something to climb on they produce a white flowers which turn into pods – if you grow the edible pod kind, it takes fewer plants to get a meal. Fresh peas and new potatoes is one of the most remembered meals of my youth, it doesn’t get much sweeter than that! But, in our climate, with our soils, neither of these are tremendous producers and you may well want to stick to fava beans here. Add artichoke hearts and you have a California Mediterranean meal that could well be a remembered meal for next year!
Sweet peas – give them something to climb on – don’t much care for heat and if you want that great sweet pea scent, grow older named varieties and be prepared to be patient!


In addition, there are a number of woody perennials to look into for the back of the border – I would encourage looking into a variety of ornamentals that can fill up the back of the border quite nicely.

david

Bibliography for Potager Design

Designing The New Kitchen Garden, An American Potager Handbook, Bartley, Jennifer © 2006, Timber Press, Portland, OR This is the book used to compile a good deal of my potager design lecture. It has to be adapted for our climate – all of her dates are good if you’re in OH, but I don’t think we’re in OH – at least not the last time I checked we hadn’t even made it to not being in Kansas. This is a good book, well written and filled with inspiration.

Designing and Maintaining your Edible Landscape Naturally
, Kourick, Robert © 1986, Metamorphic Press, Santa Rosa, CA Probably the bible for this kind of garden. I own a first printing and a quick check shows that Amazon has it new for $33.46 (Permanent Publications; March 30, 2005), so it’s still a winner, after all these years.

Herloom Vegetable Gardening, Weaver, William Woys, ©1997, New York, NY Very few pictures, but the descriptions are sufficient to make you drool all over the book! Not specific to our area, but a lot of fun to read and daydream about all we COULD grow if we had forty acres or more.

How to Grow More Vegetables and Fruits: (And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops)
7th Edition, Jeavons, John ©2006, Ten Speed Press, San Francisco, CA If there is only one book you ever purchase for growing vegetables, this is it! John Jeavons has done more for the growing of vegetables in a small space than any one other single person on this planet. This book is good for the charts alone.

Sunset Western Garden Guide 8th Edition, Brenzel, Kathleen Norris, Editor, ©2007, Sunset Publishing This is the number one go-to book for horticulture in Southern California; no other book is as authoritative as this one for our area. We cannot take advice from most gardening books and apply it to what we do in Los Angeles because our climate and soils are nothing like the rest of the world – especially the east coast and England where most books about gardening originate. However, with this book, you can use these other books, (like the ones above) you can then filter their information through ‘Sunset.’

The Kitchen Garden, Thompson, Sylvia ©1995, Bantam Books New York, NY Sylvia Thompson has been a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and lives in our area so she knows how to grow here in Los Angeles. I like Sylvia Thompson's command of the vegetable palette in the garden and the kitchen.

david

PS - Parking has NOT improved.

09 October, 2008

List of Winter Seedlings Available at Marina Nursery

Winter Vegetable Seedlings at the Marina del Rey Nursery
October 2, 2008




Artichokes - Green Globe
Beans - Fava Long Pod
Beets
Berries – Raspberries, Blackberries, Boysenberries
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts - Jade Cross “K”
Carrots - Thumbelina
Cauliflower - Early Snowball “A”
Celery
Leeks - American Flag
Lettuce - Gourmet salad blend, Mild mesclun mix, French Nicoise salad mix
Onions - Green bunching onions, Yellow onions, Red onions
Peas - Sugar snap peas, Oregon giant snow peas
Peppers – Serrano, JalapeƱo
Pomegranate dwarf
Strawberries - Pretty in Pink
Swiss Chard - Bright Lights
Tomato - Oregon spring, Glasnost winter, Siberia, Early Girl Improved

My notes: I don’t believe that you can get any decent tomatoes over the winter. And carrots, beets and other root crops ought, in my opinion, be planted in place.

david

04 October, 2008

Gardens For Gourmets: PARKING Etc

The Learning Garden took delivery on two loads of tree chips last week which effectively removed a lot of car park space in our little drive. We attempted to secure a promise from Venice High School that GFG students could park in the VHS lots without threat of being locked in but such assurance was not forthcoming: we did not get a return call from VHS administrators and so cannot guarantee that they will not lock the gates before 5:00 PM.

Therefore, parking this week will be much more difficult than last week. I encourage you to arrive earlier than last week and seek street parking on Walgrove or Venice Blvd.

By next week, we hope we will have secured more parking for us. Extension pays the Unified School District a lot of money to hold classes here and one of the reasons for these fees is to pay for onsite maintenance and security - hopefully, we'll be able to secure some cooperation here at the campus, so suffer, please, with dignity this week, and hope for a better result by next Sunday.

Also, do dress to accommodate cooler weather this weekend. It is quite cool today and I expect tomorrow to be only slightly warmer.

david

02 October, 2008

Some Constituents of Potting Soil

There is no regulation on potting soil. A lot of material sold on the market today is awful. Choose your potting soil with more care than you do your plants; it will be with you longer!

DO NOT USE GARDEN SOIL OR BEACH SAND IN A POTTING MIX. Or at least not one you hope to grow plants in!


Compost Few mixes that say ‘compost’ mean compost as we know it. If it is clearly marked ‘organic’ and is from a known source, then you can be assured that it is compost. Otherwise, assume it is really sewage sludge and don’t buy it.

Forest fines Ground bark and nothing much more really – most mixes that have this hold more water than necessary except for bog plants. Stay away from these mixes.

Peat moss A lot of controversy swirls around the sustainability of harvesting peat, but it is still the number one water holding constituent in potting soils. Tends towards acidic. Coconut 'coir' is the touted replacement, but there is rumor that it is even LESS sustainable than peat. The jury is still out about which is which and which is hype.

Perlite A natural ‘glass’ material baked at high temperatures that is useful for pore space in potting mixtures

Sand An inert material, sand promotes drainage and good pore space. Sand should not be the majority (by volume) of the soil mix, but its presence in large amounts promotes good plant health and forgives the mistakes of beginning or benign gardener.

Vermiculite A mineral that is heated until it expands – a lightweight and porous material, it is common ingredient in potting soils; if crushed while wet, it loses all efficacy.

Tools And Supplies for Gardening in Containers

Tools

Swiss Army Knife (no, I don’t get a kickback)
Sharp pencil (eraser optional)
Sharpie is helpful
Compass
Dibber
Grape shears, pruners or sturdy scissors
Something to water with; nozzle on hose or watering can
Something to dig with; trowel or small spade
Gloves
Measuring devices,
Clothes and a surface you don’t mind getting soiled
Firm brush – even a wire brush works most of the time
A sharp knife
Poacher’s spade
A basket, sack or bucket to hold your tools in one spot

Supplies

Something to put the plant in – a pot of some kind
Screen
A good potting soil
Fertilizer?
Pesticides?
Water
Plants and/or seeds

Types and Qualities of Pots


Materials
- Qualities
Concrete - HEAVY, but, if you pour your own, can be shaped a variety of ways and colored to suit the job
Fiber - There are a host of new products being pushed as ‘green’ alternatives to Plastic – most of these have spotty records, if they have a record at all – the solution we need to look for isn’t more throw-away crap, it’s in more substantial and enduring containers along with a new aesthetic that values older and less than pristine solutions.
Fiberglass - Lightweight in a variety of shapes – often to imitate pots of yesteryear
Galvanized - Lightweight, attractive, poor insulation, makes a good outer pot with the real pot inside
Glazed pottery - All the pluses of terra cotta but with a wide range of colors. It does lack permeability so does not breathe, but other than that, it’s terra cotta dressed for a date.
Lead - Older, often unavailable now days, heavy, and useful only in certain decorating schemes – expensive when you can find them – reproductions usually mimic the older styles, and aren’t appreciably less expensive.
Paper pulp - A short lived solution – not practical for the long haul, but they are lightweight and useful for one to two years. A good, inexpensive, temporary work around if that’s what you need.
Plastic - Lightweight, attractive/ugly colors, poor insulation, some of the cheap ones are extremely short-lived and another petroleum product we tend to overuse; sometimes, however, it is the only solution…
Stone - Heavy, expensive and not very practical, but boy, what a statement!
Terra cotta - Attractive, wide variety of styles and quality, insulates well, easily broken, larger pots are mercilessly heavy; terra cotta breathes and will eventually gain a delightful patina – some of the Vietnamese pottery on the market today discolors with charm
Wire frames - Lined with moss or other permeable material – they drain so very fast; in our climate they are difficult to keep wet enough to look good. Combined with a drip/mist system, they can be very attractive, but hardly worth the effort in most situations
Wood - Attractive until rotted and will rot sooner rather than later – short term and versatile. Decent insulation qualities. Not too heavy.

Anything can serve as a pot if it can provide drainage.

Bibliography for Container Gardening

Gardening for Roof Terraces and Balconies, Osborne, Michele, ©2007 Aquamarine Press, Part coffee-table picture book, part real gardening book – this is a marvelous idea book, worth looking at although most of the plant material will not do nearly a prettily in Los Angeles as it does in the book unless you pay a LOT of extra attention to your garden. The book Gardens in the Sky; Roof Terraces and Balconies ©2004 is the same book, a fact I wish I’d known before I bought both.

Potted Gardens
, Cole, Rebecca ©1997 Clarkson Potter Press, A creative and whimsical romp through the possibilities of container gardening. A delightful book, full of ideas that I found inspirational and useful in every way. It is witty, charming and a lovely read - a super combination with actual information you can really use. She hails from New York and there are ideas that will melt in Southern California, but the inspiration is infectious.

Roof Gardens, Balconies, and Terraces, Stevens
, David, ©1997 Rizzoli International Publishing, A decent enough guide, but assumes your budget is hefty – many of the gardens here were not built with pennies!

Sunset Container Gardening
, Sunset Publishing ©1998, A lovely little book that isn’t very expensive and has a lot of tips on using color with pots – like painting the terra cotta pots. Some fun ideas!

Sunset Western Garden Book
, Sunset Publishing, ©2007, I know, it’s practically an annual anymore, but still, I like the newest edition because of all the additional plants – face it, if you are gardening in Los Angeles and environs, this is THE book and there is even nothing else close so this is the book to have. I don’t get a kick back.

The City Gardener’s Handbook, The Definitive Guide to Small-Space Gardening Yang, Linda (originally published as “The City Gardeners Handbook” then as “The City and Town Gardener; A Handbook for Planting Small Spaces and Containers,” now back to the original title with enhancements – like an aging movie star?) © 2002 Storey Books, This was the text for my Small Gardens course. It was written primarily from a New York point of view, so a fair bit of “translation” is in order, but the ideas and creativity are among the best around. And the photos of gardens in the winter gives one pause. Big pots – big ideas.

The Complete Container Garden, Joyce, David, ©2003 Readers Digest Association, A well-written book and lots of ideas – good background information on what and why, just not written for Southern California. And despite the title, it is not “complete.”

Container Gardening Class Syllabus

COURSE SYLLABUS
Instructor: David King
Email: greenteach@roadrunner.com
Phone: redacted


COURSE TITLE AND NUMBER: Container Gardening for the Urban Environment BIOLGY 802


There are no prerequisites for this course. We will meet from October 2 through October 30 for 5 meetings. All class meetings take place at the UCLA Downtown Center 103 Figueroa Courtyard - 261 S. Figueroa St. from 7:00 to 9:30 PM

Course Purpose

At the conclusion of this course, students will be confident in planting a multiplicity of containers with a wide variety of plants that will thrive in our unique climate. Students will be introduced to design principles applicable to container gardeners and will learn their care and maintenance.

Course Objectives
Students will be able to meet the following objectives by knowing:
Types of pots used in container gardeners
The qualities of the components of potting soil and how to choose a good one
Color combinations and other basic design principles
Care of plants over their life span
Appreciation of light and water needs for container gardens
Students should also be able to report that they’ve been inspired to find their own individuality in container garden design and to experiment with colors, plants or containers that had been off their personal radar before this class. Students are expected to share their experiences and knowledge with the class which guarantees an enhanced learning experience for all of us.

Application

This course is designed to be applicable for home gardeners primarily living in a loft, condo or town home; it can serve as an introduction as well for professionals that wish to incorporate container gardening as a part of their business’ offerings. Students should also find time to do some networking with fellow students.

Text for this course:
Sunset Western Garden Guide 8th Edition, Brenzel, Kathleen Norris, Editor, ©2007, Sunset Publishing There will be no specific assigned reading from this book, but it is the “bible” for gardeners in Southern California.

In addition, the following texts are strongly suggested for your reference shelf:

The City Gardener’s Handbook
, Yang, Linda, ©2002, Storey Books, Published first as The City Gardener’s Handbook and then as The City and Town Gardener and now back again under the original title.

Potted Gardens, Cole, Rebecca, ©1997, Clarkson Potter Publishers

Date Mtg TOPIC
02 October 1 Lecture: Introduction – roll, Extension policy, meeting time and place, attendance and tardiness, office hours, expectations, objectives. Tools; types of pots; light
09 October 2 Lecture: types of soil; considerations of soil type and pot type relative to plant type, color and design; planting edibles, annuals, perennials,
16 October 3 Lecture: California Natives and succulents; low water plants
23 October 4 Lecture: Refurbishing containers/Maintenance and care; pest control; watering
30 October 5 Lecture: Your own potted plant experience

Office Hours
I have no set office hours, however, I am available by phone (the number above is my cell phone) and by email. I am willing to meet with students almost any day of the week at my office at The Learning Garden or a mutually convenient coffee bar. It is my most sincere desire that you learn and you will find me very approachable. After class is usually not a very good time because that’s when most students vie for answers and we are all tired after a long day. You can net a more thoughtful answer by contacting me another time.

Updates and Handouts
For this course I will utilize my personal blog page at http://lagarden.blogspot.com/ to post handouts and extra material for the class. There is an RSS feed through which each posting is automatically forwarded to your email so you can have access to handouts whenever they are posted. This approach makes last minute updates easily available. If this technology is new to you, another classmate or I will guide you through it. It is not difficult.

BONUS: Take this syllabus to Pottery Manufacturing and Distributing, 18881 S. Hoover Street, Gardena, CA 90248 Phone: 310.323.7772 and they will give you a one-time generous discount on your pottery purchase.